Video: Marcel Wanders on his Knotted Chair

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Marcel Wanders' seminal 1996 Knotted Chair was "a little miracle"

Most Loved: in the first movie of our exclusive new video series, Marcel Wanders looks back at his chair made from knotted rope, which helped propel the Dutch designer to international stardom when it was launched in 1996.

Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders

Wanders' Knotted Chair is made from lengths of hand-braided aramid and carbon fibre cord, which are impregnated with epoxy resin to provide rigidity.

The chair has the delicate appearance of handcrafted macramé – a technique for making textiles using knotting rather than weaving – but is also extremely durable and light.

Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders

"For us, that chair is magic because of its very interesting technological story and its innovation," Wanders explains in the movie, which Dezeen filmed in Amsterdam.

"I understood that this carbon fibre material is a textile. Instead of making carbon fibre sheets that we then bend to create volumes, I wanted to create a textile."

Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders

 

Knotted Chair was first presented in Milan in 1996 at Dutch collective Droog's Dry Tech exhibition, which explored new hi-tech materials and manufacturing techniques.

Wanders received global attention for the design, which is now listed in the permanent collections of a number of prominent design museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the V&A museum in London.

Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders

The cord used to make the chair features a carbon core overbraided with aramid, a strong and lightweight synthetic material commonly used in the aerospace industry.

The knotted pattern forms a space frame structure that is strong enough to support the weight of the person sitting in it.

Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders

"I understood that the way to make something light as well as strong would be to work with space frames," Wanders says. "It's stable enough to hold a heavy guy, keeping the whole thing up and making it strong."

Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders

The chair is manufactured by hanging the epoxy-soaked knotted structure in a wooden frame to dry, letting gravity define the final form of the seat.

Wanders produced the first prototypes himself, before Italian furniture brand Cappellini manufactured a limited run of 1000 pieces.

Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders

"We had to make this chair in mid air, so we had to work with gravity," Wanders explains. "We hung our knotted structure in the frame. Strangely enough, that piece of rope became stable and we could sit on it. It was a little miracle."

Marcel Wanders

This movie was filmed by Dezeen in Amsterdam. Footage of the Knotted Chair production process is courtesy of Marcel Wanders Studio. All other photography is by Dezeen.


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Most Loved is a collaboration between Dezeen and car brand MINI celebrating design objects that have found a special place in people's hearts. Over the coming months, we will be interviewing some of the world's leading designers about their most popular and enduring designs.

You can watch all the movies as we publish them on our special Most Loved microsite: www.dezeen.com/mostloved